Winfield girls first to 5 state soccer titles
BECKLEY, W.Va. - Winfield was a marked team all season, but the Generals made their mark on the history books Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore Jordan Pauley and junior Jayne Lawman each scored as Winfield won its second consecutive state championship, defeating Washington 2-0 in the Class AAA girls soccer state title game at the YMCA Youth Sports Complex.
The Generals (23-1-1), who finished the regular season No. 1 in the final state coaches association rankings, captured the program's fifth title overall and now have the most in the state since girls soccer was sanctioned by the Secondary School Activities Commission in 1995. Wheeling Park took four straight from 1998-2001 under the one-class system, which split into two in 2008 (AAA and AA-A).
"I always say we're here to play and that's what we did,'' said Winfield senior keeper Braiden Maddox, whose squad was ranked as high as No. 17 nationally this year. "There's a little bit of pressure, but before we get on the field we always pray and so the pressure eases.
"We've had a lot of mental preparation along with physical preparation. You have to play your game and not think about that big target on your back. With how small [our school is], this is definitely a big accomplishment.''
Pauley gave Winfield the lead for good at 1-0 about 10 minutes into the opening half. The Generals didn't do much after that until Lawman put them up 2-0 with her team-high 23rd goal just after halftime. Maddox, a first-year goalie who was moved from the field, made four saves for the shutout.
"They're just well rounded,'' Washington coach Tim Michael said of the Generals. "I would put them up against some college teams. They did make us chase and after a while that takes its toll.''
The Generals also earned redemption along the way, downing No. 2 Morgantown 3-1 in Friday's semifinals to avenge their only loss of the year. Winfield lost at Morgantown 1-0 during the regular season.
"We were going to give everything we had,'' said Winfield 10th-year coach Marshall Hoff, whose team defeated Washington 4-0 during the regular season in Charles Town. "All the might we had, these young ladies were willing to do it. They knew what it was going to take. They knew we were going to have to give it that much more. Leave no doubts. Leave no what-ifs.''
The Generals senior class has known nothing but state tournament berths, having qualified all four years and now with back-to-back titles.
"We always had this goal to be the last one standing,'' said Lawman, who has verbally committed to play at Marshall. "I think we always go out and give it all we have. We played really well as a team.
"It all paid off. We had a few bumps, but we always pick it back up. I think we were really determined this year as we were last year. We're going to do the same thing [next year], get ready and work to try to be the last one standing.''
No. 12 Washington (16-7-2), which opened in 2008, put itself on the map this year, advancing to states for the first time in school history. Washington upset No. 4 GW 1-0 in Friday's semis.
"I think it's a good thing,'' Michael said of the added notoriety for his program. "I think we've got a lot to be proud of. It's a lot to build on.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at email@example.com or 304-348-4811.